Sunderland College saw its Higher Education students recently graduate in a memorable ceremony at its Bede Campus.

During the event, graduands were presented with their diplomas from a wide range of courses, including honours degrees; foundation degrees; higher apprenticeships; higher national diplomas; higher national certificates; and professional qualifications.

After introductions from Vice Chair of Governors Louise Bradford, students took centre stage to receive their awards.

Sunderland AFC Chief Operating Officer, Steve Davison, was the guest speaker on the day which was presided over by Education Partnership North East and Sunderland College Chief Executive Ellen Thinnesen.

Following the ceremony, graduates joined their friends and families in the campus’ Theatre Eighteen for a drink reception.

Following the event, Steve Davison, said: “It was a great honour to attend the graduations and share the day with so many students and families.

“It was pleasing to see so many people achieve so much, I wish them luck for the future, and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve in their future careers.”

Among this year’s graduates were two award winners: the David Child’s Award for Outstanding Achievement on an Engineering course went to HNC Engineering student Holly Herron, while Emily Tinkler, who studied HND Performance (Musical Theatre), received the Principal’s Award for Academic Excellence.

The awards were presented to Holly and Emily for going above and beyond within their studies and adding value to the wider college student experience, community, their employment, further progression and skills.

Ellen Thinnesen said: “We were delighted to share this important day with all our Higher Education students and I’m proud of everything they have worked hard to achieve.

“As graduates, I know they will use their higher-level skills and knowledge to positively contribute to the economy and society and foster a better world.

“I would like to thank all of our higher education staff for the support they have given our graduates during their studies, and I wish all those who graduated every success in the future.”

James King who studied Performing Arts, and has graduated with a distinction, said: “I couldn’t have asked for any better opportunities while studying at Sunderland College. It’s allowed me to pick up and learn so many different skills and hopefully that will take me into the industry.”

Connor Rochester, who studied Travel and Tourism added, “Studying at Sunderland College has progressed me so much further so that I’ve been able to go to University of Sunderland and study Aviation and Tourism Management.”

Sunderland College offers a variety of Higher Education courses including a number run in partnership with and accredited by local universities, such as the University of Cumbria.

To apply for Sunderland College’s Higher Education courses or book onto an open event, visit

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19